Split bearnaise

35
10
Joined Jul 16, 2003
We have probably all experienced it, the bearnaise sauce splitting at the worst posible time, as usual.

I invite the chefs of the forum to put in an opinion on the different factors involved in the science of a bearnaise splitting.

Is it soley the temperature? Or are there other factors involved like H2o content, milk solids content and temperature when emulsion is made etc.

Why is it when it looks perfect you think your OK and...

Other times, it looks like you could loose it but no! It survives.

Don't get me wrong, I have been taught to make this sauce by a 2 michelin star trained chef. I understand perfectly in theory, but in practice there seems to be a little room for interpretation.

Also, what is your trick for keeping it the perfect temperature during service?

Give it your all chefs! :chef:
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Half of learning how to make Hollandaise is learning how to fix it! ;) For the most part, in a mixing bowl on a shelf above the burners seems to be a good place. It gets a little cold up there, but a drop of warm water loosens it right up. In a mixing bowl in the middle of the steam table (lids on) with a folded towel underneath also seems to work but it can get in the way.

Kuan
 
1,586
11
Joined Jan 5, 2001
If the yolks are coagulated, a bearnaise cannot be saved. If it's simply splitting, whisking in cold water, one tablespoon at a time off heat will fix it everytime. All it means is that there isn't enough water to suspend all the droplets of melted butter into an emulsion. This could be because the sauce was prepared too quickly and the water has been lost through evaporation.

The two factors that hold the emulsion are charged particles of fat which become like magnets, charged by friction (whisking), and lecithin in the egg yolks, which clings to water and absorbs fat, thus creating a bond.
 
2,518
33
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Many moons ago, my biz partner during clean up placed 2 tall, round steam pans in each other to take to the dishwasher. The bottom one had about 2" of water (I think) in it. Try as they might, the pans never came apart! In essence they turned into a vacuum bain marie. Place that baby in the bain marie on the flat top during service and I don't care how long the bain boiled or even if it ran dry the Hollandaise NEVER broke!
Temperature control baby! :chef:
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
You know if your hollandaise (or veloute) breaks it means someone in the kitchen is pregnant right? One day I made scrambled eggs mousseline (peachcreek was there he can vouch for the fact) and the sauce broke. July 11 out popped Garrett.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Come to think of it, not only that. I let the snail flan get too hot and the eggs boiled and that broke too!
 
25
10
Joined Apr 17, 2001
I just feel compelled to mention this. I have had to make many a hollondaise and its derivatives in my time. Most of the time I was able to make one by sheer luck. but every once in a while it would look like water but it wouldn't break, or it would be so thick that it would separate. So what I did one day was I messed around with it. I kept breaking it and trying to fix it. I wound up spending a good hour or so on this one batch. Instead of just starting over. I learned so much about that sauce by doing that. Of course, I had to endure some ridicule from co-workers for trying to spend so much time on that one sauce, but it was all worth it. Ever since then I haven't had a problem with my sauce, and those same laughing co-workers still don't understand why their sauce works or breaks. Also I should mention that Madeliene Kamman's book was extremely helpful, as well as Good Eats in explaining the science of the sauce.
 
94
10
Joined Mar 10, 2004
Madeliene Kamman has been a resource of brilliance. The book is called "The making of a cook."
 

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